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When it comes to dog safety, all pet parent households should own at least one dog gate. 

The American Humane Association estimates that one in three pets get lost at some point during their lifetime. Even worse, close to 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the United States every single year. 

A dog gate can help ensure dogs remain safely contained, but that’s not their only use. Gates can also make your life easier, protect your home, or separate pets from company or visitors. However, not all dog gates are created equal. 

Reasons You Might Need A Dog Gate

Whether you are trying to keep a new puppy from getting into trouble or blocking off access to a room or staircase, a well-constructed dog gate is essential. Here are some reasons you may want to consider purchasing a dog gate.

Pet safety. Keep dogs away from doors or dangerous areas of the home with a dog gate. They also come in handy for new puppies, who you may want to keep out of certain spots in the home. Senior dogs with arthritic joints can easily tumble down stairs, which is another reason a quality dog gate comes in handy. 

Cleaning: Are you mopping the floors and waiting for them to dry? Are you cleaning with products you want to keep away from the dog? Is the vacuum too intense for your pup? A dog gate can block your pet off from areas of the home while you clean in peace. 

Pet introductions. If you are planning on bringing home a new puppy, dog, or feline friend, a dog gate can help keep pets safely separated while they get acquainted. 

Guest comfort and safety. If you plan on having visitors, a dog gate can keep pups from jumping up on your visitors or begging for food during dinner parties. This is also helpful if you are having home repairs done or workers are coming in and out of your residence. Gates will help keep your dog and your guests safe. 

Limiting activity. Dogs who are recovering from surgery or broken bones may need to limit their activity, and gating them in one room may prove helpful. When my Cocker Spaniel had ligament surgery, a retractable dog gate kept him safely contained to my home office. 

Choosing a Dog Gate: What to Look For

Dog looking over gate

A quick search of “dog gates” online reveals millions of results (over 200 million to be exact), so we took the guesswork out of selecting the best dog gates for every need. 

When choosing a dog gate, some of the key things to keep in mind are:

  • Where will the dog gate be used? 
  • What is the size of the dog or dogs to be contained by the gate?
  • What height and width are needed?
  • What material is preferred?
  • Will the dog gate be used outside and for travel?
  • How easy is the dog gate able to be set up and take down?
  • What aesthetic is preferred (i.e., metal, wood, plastic, etc). 
  • Durability of construction. 

How We Ranked Our Top Dog Gates

When selecting the dog gates on our list, we looked at a variety of features including answers to the questions above as well as:

  • Safety features
  • Ease of assembly
  • Functionality
  • Ability to stand the test of time
  • Online availability
  • Buyer ratings and reviews

We also considered price point to be an important feature for pet parents, so while some of the dog gates listed are more expensive, most are affordably priced. 

Best Dog Gate: Overall Winner

Our pick: Richell 3-in-1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate

Richell 3-in-1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate

As puppies grow and dogs evolve, so does the Richell 3-in-1 Convertible Elite Pet Gate. Recommended for small and large dogs up to 44 pounds, the four-panel hardwood gate easily converts to a room divider or a dog playpen. The lockable door allows free movement from room to room without having to move the entire unit. Each panel locks in place at 90-degree and 180-degree angles using a specially designed cap.

Highlights

  • Attractive, stable, and easy to use.
  • Works well for large openings.
  • Converts to pet pen and room divider as well as a dog gate.
  • Perfect for a small to medium-sized dog. 
  • Looks like high-end furniture.

Things to Consider

  • Higher price point. 
  • Not designed for dogs over 44 pounds.
  • Some say pins that hold the panels together are difficult to remove if you wish to take a panel away. 

Sample buyer review: “While not cheap, I decided to spring for this fencing/gate apparatus. It immediately has solved for my needs. It matches the flooring nicely, has a convenient gate, and is heavy duty enough to not only serve its primary purpose, but to also not look like cheap junk”

Best Retractable Dog Gate

Our pick: Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate

Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate

A retractable dog gate is a great option for a low-profile gate that practically disappears when opened. The Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is wide enough for most spaces and has a convenient opening mechanism. The ease of opening and ability to operate this retractable dog gate with one hand puts it high on our list. Bonus points for the low profile that is sturdy and stylish to fit into any home or apartment décor. 

Highlights

  • Certified for use at both top and bottom of the stairs by JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association).
  • Scratch-resistant mesh for use with dogs and cats.
  • Tough, washable, see-through fabric.
  • Quiet one-hand operation when opening or closing.
  • Available in 52” or 72” wide. 
  • Not bulky. 

Things to Consider

  • Higher price point.
  • Does not include wall anchors and spacers.
  • Larger dogs may be able to climb over it. 

Sample buyer review: “This gate is the best! My son AND my dog are very rough with the gate. Holds up when they try and climb. Very durable.”

For those who don’t want the higher price point but like a retractable dog gate, consider these options:

Best Dog Gate For Stairs

Our pick: PetMaker Wooden Pet-Gate

 PetMaker Wooden Pet-Gate

This wooden gate helps restrict access at the bottom or top of stairs or any other area in the home. The PetMaker dog gate for stairs does not require installation, hardware, or drilling. Lightweight and sturdy but effective, this pet gate is 54” x 24”. 

Highlights

  • Accordion-style for easy set up and moving.
  • Attractive alternative to plastic pet gates.
  • No latches to hook. 
  • Affordable and many 5-star ratings.

Things to Consider

  • Smarter, savvier dogs may try to push this gate over.
  • Lightweight.

Sample buyer review: “I wanted to keep our little Beagle (weight 18 pounds) in the den so I blocked off the hall doorway to the bedrooms. It is the best thing since sliced bread! Love this little gate – it’s lightweight, easy to fold and unfold, and best of all, my dog doesn’t even go near it.”

For more staircase-style dog gates that are friendly on the pocketbook without sacrificing quality consider these:

Best Dog Gate With A Door

Our pick: MyPet Extra Tall Petgate Passage Gate

Man opening dog gate

Designed to keep your dog where you want her, the MyPet Extra Tall Petgate Passage Gate has a locking swinging door that allows dogs to roam freely at your discretion. Made with heavy-duty steel and an attractive matte bronze finish, the extra tall design keeps canine escape artists at bay, while letting you easily walk in and out of rooms. 

Highlights

  • Extra tall design.
  • 9-1/2” x 8” swing door allows smaller dogs to come and go.
  • Grip-n-Twist latch on swing door.
  • Adjustable width.
  • Gate door swings in both directions. 

Things to Consider

  • Larger dogs cannot fit through the pet door.
  • Not meant to apply pressure on. 

Sample buyer review: “This was easy to set up and use. It works well to keep my dog corralled in the kitchen while the cat can have reign over the rest of the house.”

If your dog is bigger or you prefer a different finish, consider these dog gates with a door:

Best Outdoor Dog Gate

Our Pick: Richell 6-Panel Convertible Indoor/Outdoor Playpen

Richell 6-Panel Convertible Indoor Outdoor Playpen

Not your ordinary outdoor dog gate, this multi-functional playpen is three products in one and can be used safely indoors or outdoors. It converts into a pet gate and room divider so dogs are safely confined indoors or to a full playpen in larger outdoor areas. Easy to clean and easy to assemble, Richell gets high marks for this one. 

Highlights

  • Caps lock the panels in place at 90, 120, and 180-degree angles for extra stability.
  • Lockable gate door for extra security. 
  • Durable blow-molded plastic construction.
  • Panel designed for various sizing configurations.
  • Gate door allows you to move the unit freely without heavy shuffling.

Things to Consider

  • More expensive than some but it’s a nice three-in-one option.
  • H6 model is designed for dogs up to 88 pounds.
  • No color choice.

Sample buyer review: “Love this gate. It’s so easy to move around and disassemble, it’s sturdy, easy to clean and works perfectly. Ordering another one now for the other room.”

If simple and no frills is more your vibe, consider these other outdoor dog gates:

Best Extra Wide Dog Gate

Our pick: Cumbor Extra Wide Pet Gate

Cumbor Extra Wide Pet Gate

Sometimes, a wider dog gate is needed depending on the opening or space in which it will be placed. For pet parents with a 40” opening to block off, the Cumbor Extra Wide Pet Gate is a worthy choice. It comes with multiple extensions to fit in many different doorways, and the built-in gate swings both ways. 

Highlights 

  • Many pet parents rejoice at the ease of installation. 
  • Wide enough to walk through if carrying groceries or kids indoors. 
  • Gate automatically closes after a push of 90 degrees, but stays open past 90 degrees.
  • Install with four wall cups (included) to fasten the bolts against the wall more firmly. 
  • Ergonomic design for fast and smooth opening. 

Things to Consider

  • Pressure mount defends up to 210 pounds. 
  • Made of metal.
  • Some say the extensions are cumbersome to install. 
  • Some say when cups were removed from the wall, they caused some paint removal.

Sample buyer review: “I just needed a barrier to “remind” a dog that he can’t go into our bedroom and didn’t want the inconvenience of either stepping over a barrier or having to remove and replace the expandable type. This swing open gate is perfect and the option of a pressure installation meant it was both easy to install and non-destructive to the door frame.”

For further consideration and other options, we present these extra wide wooden dog gates:

Best Dog Gate For Large Dogs

Our pick: Internet’s Best Traditional Pet Gate

Internet’s Best Traditional Pet Gate

Available in two sizes and either 3- or 4-panel model, big dogs can have their own personal space thanks to the freestanding Internet’s Best Traditional Pet Gate. Constructed from durable, solid wood and available in 24- or 36-inch sizing, it’s perfect for entryways, bedrooms, staircases, hallways, and doorways. 

Highlights

  • Two sizes for a variety of bigger dogs.
  • White finish or espresso finish to blend with décor.
  • No drilling required.
  • Designed to stand freely. 
  • Folds down to three inches for narrow areas and easy storage.

Things to Consider

  • Sections only open in one direction.
  • Some say carpet fibers get stuck in the gate. 
  • Heavyweight.

Sample buyer review: “I was very impressed with this gate. It is great quality. It is not a flimsy gate like most but has a good weight to it. Not easy for a dog to knock over. Can be placed in so many different areas.”

For extra security and additional selections in large dog gates, take a peek at these options:

Best Wooden Dog Gate

Our pick: Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate

Richell Wood Freestanding Pet Gate

The wooden freestanding dog gate from Richell is low enough for dog parents to step over but secure enough to contain smaller-sized dogs. No installation is necessary with this wooden dog gate, as the width is adjustable from 39.8 inches to 71.3 inches.

Highlights

  • Beautiful hardwood finish available in brown or white. 
  • Allows for easy placement anywhere in the home.
  • Side panels fold in for easy storage and transport and keep the dog gate from tipping over.
  • Rubber feet prevent sliding and protect floor surfaces.
  • Available in two sizes: large for doorway or hallway openings 39.8 to 71.3 wide and small for doorway or hallway openings 26.4 to 40.2 wide. 

Things to Consider

  • Additional panels not available for purchase.
  • Not designed for larger dogs. 
  • Toddlers may be strong enough to push the gate over. 
  • Some assembly required.

Sample buyer review: “I was tired of buying doggie gates that were cheap and poorly made. They didn’t last long and didn’t look good enough to put in the front of my house. I was pleased to find that this free-standing gate looks really good in the archway between my dining room and the living area, and it is perfect to keep my three little doggies where they should be.”

We also considered these wooden dog gates that are larger in size—ideal for bigger dogs: 

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